Product: Yamaha THR5A Acoustic
Where to buy: Amazon
The Yamaha THR5A is one of my favorite musical possessions. It’s a fantastic piece of gear that I bought about five years ago and have used almost daily ever since.
The THR5a is a digital acoustic guitar-modeling amp. It simulates how your guitar would sound recorded through different types of microphones.
But instead of having to buy five types of expensive, high-quality microphones, having to learn how to set them up correctly, having to deal with wires, phasing issues, and external noise, you can just plug your acoustic guitar in this amp, and get the same results.
All of this packed a beautiful, very convenient lunch-box-shaped amplifier.
Before we get into the review, the next clip was recorded with my Yamaha APX500III acoustic guitar and the Yamaha THR5A amplifier. No microphones and external effects were used. All of this was set up and recorded in about ten minutes.
Yamaha THR5A Review
- 1. Mic Simulations
- 2. Controls
- 3. THR editor (Effects & Library)
- 4. Size & Sound
1. Microphone Simulations
Let’s immediately start with what makes this amplifier so great. There are four types of microphone simulations and one amp model.
As you can see in the picture, there’s a knob which allows you to pick a mic type. The mic types are:
- Condenser (mic simulation)
- Dynamic (mic simulation)
- Tube (mic simulation)
- Nylon (mic simulation)
- Electric Guitar Clean (amp model)
Let’s give a listen to each one of them. None of these clips are edited, equalized, compressed or mixed. It’s the clean output of the amplifier plugged into my laptop.
The condenser option is the one I use the most because it’s the most natural sounding. I think it’s spectacular how clean and beautiful this sound is.
This option is great if you’re recording a song and you want some strumming in the background. It’s tighter and more focused, but it misses some of the quality of the condenser microphone.
I really like this option for fingerpicking type of songs.
The nylon type is designed for acoustic guitars with nylon string, but I don’t have a nylon electro-acoustic guitar. It sounds a bit thin recorded this way, but with some effects, you can use this option to your advantage in the studio.
Electric Guitar Clean
The amp model is designed for electric guitars, but I think it sounds really cool for acoustic guitars as well. When you add some delay and reverb, you can get a really cool and natural sound.
There are seven knobs on top of the amplifier.
- The first knob selects the mic types.
- The second knob allows you to blend the simulated sound of the mic with the direct sound of the guitar itself.
- The third knob controls the master input of the guitar.
- The fourth knob controls the tone of the guitar.
- The fifth knob allows you to add some compression and chorus
- The sixth knob allows you to add some delay and reverb.
- The seventh knob allows you to control the volume of the amplifier (this does not affect the volume of the guitar when you’re plugged into your desktop).
On the left is a button with two options:
- Hold for a tuner
- Tap for delay time
On the right, you can find a jack input, AUX input, and a phones output.
Using a USB cable, you can connect the amp with your desktop. Along with the amplifier comes a software, which also can be found online: http://download.yamaha.com.
This software is called THR Editor.
As you can see, this software gives you a broader range of options. There are more effects, the compression, delay, and reverb can be tweaked to a lot of detail, and there are a lot more tonal options.
Here’s a clip of me playing with some reverb:
Here’s a clip of me playing with some delay:
These are not very subtle, but there are high cut, low cut, and volume options, which can be used for subtlety.
Under EFFECT, you can find four types of effects:
Here’s a clip of me playing with some tremolo.
The THR Editor allows you to save data to your desktop. This means when you have found the perfect setting for a guitar or a specific song, you can save it to the THR5A library.
A lot of presets can be found on the left of the screen, which is especially fantastic when you’re just starting out with the amplifier.
5. Size & Sound
Despite being only 10.7 inches wide, 6.57 inches high, 4.7 inches long, and 8.65 pounds in weight, this amp can go surprisingly loud.
There are two 3.2 inches, 5-watt speakers, which really can fill up a room. This is not loud enough for most live shows, but for practice sessions, jam sessions in a local bar or even smaller sized live shows, this little lunch box will not disappoint.
I’ve used it for weddings, funerals, birthdays, living room concerts, rehearsals… The only regret I have with this amp is that you can’t connect it to a larger amplifier which would allow you to take it to larger stages.
But for home recording and bedroom practice sessions, this amp is sensational.
I hope this review was helpful to you. I tried to add as many clips as possible, but there are so many options with this amplifier. If you have any questions or reactions, feel free to leave a comment below. I will be here to answer them.